Funding Research With NIH Grants: A Losing Battle In A Flawed System

Flawed System Author: Arthur E. Sowers Scientists who do research in academic environments must pay for this research from grant money obtained through a highly competitive process that starts with the writing of a grant proposal. Although this process can end successfully if a grant proposal is funded, it more often than not ends with a proposal being rejected. It is widely known that over the last 15 years the average chance that a proposal will be funded has declined from about 50 percent

Arthur Sowers
Oct 15, 1995

Flawed System Author: Arthur E. Sowers

Scientists who do research in academic environments must pay for this research from grant money obtained through a highly competitive process that starts with the writing of a grant proposal.

Although this process can end successfully if a grant proposal is funded, it more often than not ends with a proposal being rejected. It is widely known that over the last 15 years the average chance that a proposal will be funded has declined from about 50 percent to about 10 percent or less today. Hence, to get one proposal funded, the average scientist must be constantly writing to produce and submit about 10 proposals. The two-fold question that arises from this situation is: How did this process become so difficult, and can anything be done about it?

In the search for answers, one area to concentrate on is how this process works in...

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